The Pasco County Commission’s Sept. 19 agenda was packed with resolutions to celebrate the accomplishments of people from all walks of life.
It passed a resolution to celebrate the life-saving actions of teenagers Mia Watkins, Finley Watkins and Regan Barron.
Commissioners praised the accomplishments of Miki Sudo and Nick Wehry — two world-class professional eaters, who happen to live in Pasco County.
And, the board passed resolutions to honor the work accomplished by retiring staffers — Fire Chief Scott Cassin and Budget Director Robert Goehig.
Mia Watkins, Finley Watkins and Regan Barron positively glowed as Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller Nikki Alvarez-Sowles read the resolution into the record.
For her part, the clerk got a little choked up, while reading it.
“Mia and Finley were lifeguarding at Anclote River Park (on July 19) when a moment of crisis emerged in the designated swim area when a visitor swimming experienced an epileptic attack,” Sowles-Alvarez read. “Mia and Finley swiftly initiated safety protocol and rescued the patron from the water.”
Then, on Aug. 5, “Mia, Finley and Regan were on duty as lifeguards at Anclote River Park when a 2-year-old child approached the deeper portion of the designated swim area, became submerged, and lost consciousness.
“The lifeguards responded and found the 2-year-old child unresponsive and not breathing” and then “worked together to perform life-saving measures, including Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and rescue breathing,” the clerk read from the resolution, getting a little choked up, as she detailed what happened.
Their swift response is credited with saving the young child’s life.
They have a need for speed
Another resolution, brought forward by Commissioner Seth Weightman, heaped praise on Sudo and Wehry, professional competitive eaters who live in Pasco.
Sudo’s competitive eating career began in Las Vegas when she was a student and she entered a 12-pound bowl of pho eating challenge.
Wehry’s career began when he was talked into entering a doughnut-eating contest.
They compete in about 20 contests a year and are the highest-ranked couple in history according to Major League Eating, the official league that oversees professional eating contests worldwide.
Sudo is ranked No. 3 overall, and No. 1 for women. She is a nine-time Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Champion, including seven consecutive titles; she is a four-time Buffalo Wing Eating Champion; and a former tamale, turkey, rib, and a doughnut-eating champion, the resolution says.
Wehry is ranked No. 4 in the world and is a Wonderful Pistachios Eating Champion, Wings for Wishes Wing Eating Champion, and a Hard-Boiled Egg Eating Champion.
Sudo also holds world records for eating 14.5 pounds of Minnesota hot dish in 8 minutes, 48.5 hot dogs in 10 minutes, 5.5 pounds of kimchi in 8 minutes, and 16.5 pints of ice cream in 6 minutes, the resolution says.
Wehry, meanwhile, holds world records for eating 188 pistachios in 8 minutes, 50 hard-boiled eggs in 3 minutes and 4 seconds, as well as 2 gallons of pureed baby food.
Both work to raise money through various charitable events and organizations.
They worked with Wings for Wishes, as part of a wing-eating and charity event that has raised over $850,000 for Make a Wish in South Florida and with Friends of We Care to raise over $150,000 for kids to attend summer camp programs.
They also work with Nathan’s at the hot dog-eating contest every year, where 100,000 hot dogs are donated to the food banks in New York, according to the resolution.
They are the proud parents of Max, and Miki is a loving stepmom to Nick’s other children William and Sylvie.
Weightman was thrilled the competitive eaters could fit the commission meeting into their schedule.
Sudo told board members that the resolution is an honor.
“You have a lot of serious business to tend to,” she said, adding that she hoped that she and her husband could bring a little bit of levity and laughter to the boardroom.
Wehry added: “The insanity of what we do isn’t lost on us. But to be able to represent the community, raise copious amounts of money with our absurd skill, and bring happiness to people, that’s really cool.
“I never thought I’d get to travel the world and represent a great community and raise money for those in need, by eating pistachios in a short period of time.
“I found the love of my life, and a job and a great community, through an absurd talent. It’s a strange job, but it’s a job,” he said.
Weightman said he’s been watching Sudo compete at least since 2015.
“Leading into our Fourth of July festivities, we’ve watched the Nathan’s hot-dog eating contest, as part of our Fourth of July,” he said.
When he learned the couple lived in Pasco, he wanted to bring them in.
He told them that he was “super-excited and honored, and a bit star-struck” by their appearance in the boardroom.
Before moving onto the honors involving Goehig and Cassin, Alvarez-Sowles commented:
“The resolutions have been great. I’ve cried. I’ve laughed. This has been great.”
“Full range of emotions,” agreed County Commission Chairman Jack Mariano.
And now, more traditional honors
Next up, the board honored Goehig for his accomplishments as a leader and a mentor.
The resolution noted that beyond the budget director’s outstanding work ethic and fiscal guidance for the county, he “worked tirelessly during storm events and could be found in the Emergency Operations Center on the night shift as the Finance Section chief during catastrophes and disasters.
The resolution says that Goehig is leaving behind “a legacy of transparency, trust, and collaboration in budgeting.”
It also noted that Goehig is known for his work with the Florida Sterling Council in his roles as Master Examiner, Chair of the Sterling Exam Committee, Results Lead, Team Lead, and Trainer. He also received recognition with the Examiner Excellence Award in 2014.
Cassin, the retiring fire chief, was honored for his many accomplishments during his 13-year career with the county, where he rose to the rank of fire chief in 2012.
His achievements included work that improved public safety communications, enhanced safety for personnel, improved emergency services, strengthened relationships with other jurisdictions and improved fire station design.
The department added shift commanders during his tenure, new fire stations have come online, and he led the department during COVID 19, the resolution says.
Published October 04, 2023